StoryDoc – the Creative Documentary?

Emma Davie, Scottish filmmaker and film teacher at the Edinburgh College of Arts did a brilliant lecture on what a creative documentary can be. She was adressing her colleagues with advice and reflections that came from the clips from the films she had chosen.

She started with ”My Body” (2002) by Norwegian Margreth Olin, a personal film with a wonderful grainy texture – Olin had found her form, Emma Davie said, do the same, do not think about a big audience, make films that talk to your best friend.

”Do not make documentaries if you don’t have to”, is one of the Ten Points made by Russian director Viktor Kossakovski, who also said that you should not think during the filming but before and after. The clip from ”Belovs” (1993), the masterpiece of the Russian auteur, made Emma Davie say that it is so giving to see the ordinary changed. The joy of looking and be looked at were introductory words to Marc Isaacs ”The Lift” (2002), yes, filmed in a lift, people going in and out, a film that has its limitations in time and space. But what if you have a person, who actually do not want to be filmed. Like the father in Alan Berliner’s original ”Nobody’s Business” (1996), a neo-classic, full of humour and visual ideas, perfect in rythm.

The creative documentary does not pretend that it knows all, the simpler the more fascinating, Emma Davie said, and use suspense if you can. She referred to Berliner’s film, will the father give in and actually reveal anything from his past?

Davie ended with Marcel Lozinski’s ”Anything Can Happen” (1995) (PHOTO), a unique film, one of the absolute favourites of this blogger. The little boy in the park going to old people on the benches, having dialogues with them about life and death, about being old, about religion. Pure pleasure.

As was the lecture of Emma Davie.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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